Saturday, February 4, 2023
HomeNew ZealandTairāwhiti Civil Defence stands down as rain eases sooner than expected

Tairāwhiti Civil Defence stands down as rain eases sooner than expected

The Hikuwai River at Willowflat is expected to peak at at least 12 metres at midnight tonight.

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The Hikuwai River at Willowflat peaked at 11.6 metres.
Photo: Gisborne District Council / Screenshot

Rain and flooding is easing sooner than expected in Tairāwhiti, but some communities are cut off.

The Gisborne region has been deluged for much of the day, and Civil Defence said the worst of the heavy rain had passed – and Hikuwai River had peaked.

But it said the roading network was still fragile and residents were advised to stay put for the night.

More than 185 millimetres of rain fell north of Tolaga Bay today, and Hikuwai and Tokomaru Bay catchments have been the hardest hit.

The Hikuwai River peaked at 11.6 metres tonight – about 4m above flood safe levels – but is now finally receding.

The Gisborne District Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher-Swann said slips and drop outs had been reported on roads around the region – and people should just not go out.

State Highway 35 has reopened between Okitu and Tolaga Bay but remains closed between Tolaga Bay and Ruatoria.

Thatcher-Swann said the community was well prepared and while no one was officially moved from their homes, some people decided to evacuate themselves.

Civil Defence earlier said there was surface flooding in Tokomaru Bay and in Te Araroa township, with power outages in some parts of the district.

A heavy rain warning is in place for Gisborne from Tokomaru Bay northwards until 6am tomorrow with up to 80mm of rain on top of what has already fallen, while south of Tokomaru Bay the warning was in place until 3am on Saturday with up to 60mm of rain forecast.

For the latest information check Tairāwhiti Civil Defence’s Facebook page.

Civil Defence Northland said severe weather warnings for the region had now been lifted and the rain had eased in most places.

In Northland, a few stretches of State Highway 1 are closed because of flooding and slips, caused by the storm. It includes the road through the Mangamuka Gorge, south of Kaitaia.

Rainfall of up to 40mm was still forecast and Civil Defence advised motorists to take care since this could still cause flash flooding and surface flooding.

Earlier today seven schools were closed in the Whangārei district, with flooded roads keeping staff and students stuck at home.

A heavy rain warning is also in place for Bay of Plenty until 3am on Saturday with 70-120mm rain forecast east of Kawerau, particularly about the ranges east of Ōpōtiki, while up to 80mm of rain is expected west of Kawerau.

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